Click Bait

What Is a Click Bait?

Click bait is a form of false advertising that intentionally over-promises or misrepresents a result or an end-product. This type of content often doesn’t present facts, but presents content in a manner that appeals to your emotions and curiosity. 

Content marketers sometimes resort to using click bait to get readers to click on their content in an effort to increase website traffic and earnings from PPC advertising

The Appeal of Click Bait

Click bait can give your content more page views. It also stands to gain more social shares by eliciting a strong emotional response from readers. These in turn can increase brand awareness for companies or content creators. 

While it is an annoying technique, it is often harmless. However, it can have harmful effects when used in tandem with fake news. According to several studies, most people tend to share content without even reading it. This defines what gets circulated and what content is obscured, to some extent. 

How to Identify Click Bait

Click bait is often characterized by an overdramatic headline, funny images, and skimmable content. This type of headline is often vague, misleading, leaves out key facts, and doesn’t match the actual content. Some click bait articles may also border on fearmongering and exploitation. 

However, it may sometimes be difficult to differentiate between click bait and legitimate content or headlines because they both vie for your attention.

Examples of Click Bait

Click bait has many forms and variations. Below are some of the most common iterations that you may have come across:

  • 10 Hacks to Simplify Your Life. #8 Will Change Your Life!”
  • This ___tried ____to_____. You Won’t Believe What Happened Next!”
  • You’ll Never Look at ______ the Same Way Again after Seeing This…
  • She Made a Call and What Happened Next Changed Her Life Forever…

How Click Bait Affects You

Click bait can also alter how your audience sees your website, diminishing their trust in your brand. Some may even come to view your brand in a negative light because of click bait.

  • It can attract the wrong visitors

Click bait can attract a variety of visitors outside your target audience, making it difficult to create brand loyalty. Given its often vague nature, click bait can attract curious people and not necessarily those who actually care about your brand.

  • Click bait can negatively affect algorithms

Given that click bait doesn’t really generate useful content, visitors are more likely to skim your content and end up leaving disappointed. Aside from garnering a negative impression, having several visitors who don’t linger or return to your content can negatively affect your page and its algorithms.

  • It can lead to higher bounce rates

Having higher bounce rates can directly affect algorithm results and your rankings. Higher bounce rates also point back to a large number of your audience being disappointed with your click bait content. 

Avoiding Click Bait in Your Campaigns

While click bait is often cast in a negative light because it gets associated with fake news and scams, some argue that, when done well, it can have positive effects for your content. “Done well” means you create the “bait” and then use your content to deliver on your promise. Simply put, you create bait that won’t disappoint your readers after they click.

But when moving towards creating better campaigns, it’s usually a good move for creators to move away from click bait. Here are some tips you can use to avoid creating click bait without compromising on the quality of your content:

  • Avoid using superlatives

Instead of relying on superlatives like “best” or “the only”, why not use power words instead? Power words trigger an emotional response that spurs your readers into action. 

  • Include key facts

Where click bait “forgets” to include key facts, solid, great content includes key facts that, when left out, change the whole context or meaning of your content. 

  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep

Click bait often disappoints readers because it makes grand promises that it doesn’t keep. It annoys readers and can often come across as lying, which can seriously hurt your brand’s reputation. Keep in mind that great content doesn’t need to be exaggerated or sensationalized. You can stand by your brand and create compelling content without ever resorting to click bait.

About the Author
With over 15 years in content marketing, Werner founded Influencer Marketing Hub in 2016. He successfully grew the platform to attract 5 million monthly visitors, making it a key site for brand marketers globally. His efforts led to the company's acquisition in 2020. Additionally, Werner's expertise has been recognized by major marketing and tech publications, including Forbes, TechCrunch, BBC and Wired.